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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 6:10 pm 
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Can anybody say what a parent's rights are if for very good reasons they wish:

1) their child not to study a (non-core) subject which the school has chosen to make compulsory at GCSE; or
2) if the parent wishes to withdraw their child from sitting a (non-core) GCSE which the child has studied for the requisite time, but which that child may do badly in?

In both cases (which are separate, incidentally), the parents have valid non-trivial reasons for the choices they are making.


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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 9:11 pm 
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I think you need to give us a bit more information - did you know the school's GCSE policy when your child started? Why don;t you want your child to do the subject? Does the child want to do it? Is it the sort of subject that the child might need for university entrance or similar?


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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 9:17 pm 
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I'm not sure of the answer - have thought about it myself :roll: thinking that engineering was a pain and pointless (DD actually rather enjoying it now).

I presume that you could just not send them on the day of the test???? :?:


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PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 10:07 pm 
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But if thye've done the work and spent the time why not just do the exam? Thye may do better than you expect, and even if they don't, why does it matter so much?


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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 8:03 am 
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Location: East Kent
we asked to withdraw Master Yoyo from music as it was obviously struggling (bad choice of subject..he was told he would be ok and pick up as he went on, but he didn;t read music properly being a drummer) School refused in year 10 , but as it became obvious that he was going to get a very poor grade they suddenly saw our point of view. May be worth talking to the school, it can;t do any harm.


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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 9:57 am 
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These are two separate cases with two separate families.

In the case of the subject which has been studied, and is approaching the final (half-) GCSE exam, the course has been very badly taught (since Year 7), appropriate guidance has not been offered on the coursework, and a bad result (and that means lower than an A) could affect the child's chances at university entrance. The student in question is aiming high. The parent has made significant attempts from the beginning of the course to get the school to rectify the situation, and thus offer all students the best chance of a high grade, but the school has not responded to the current year's needs. The subject has now been dropped as a compulsory one for later years - possibly after the current year's dismal set of results, which have particularly alarmed the parent.

In the other case, the child is attending the only school that is actually available to them, so knowing the school's 'compulsory' subjects (though these are not made known at entry) could not have affected the parents' 'choice' of school. The child in question is gifted in another subject which they have full support from the subject teacher to sit early, and they have a solid plan in place to see the child through to the end of sixth form. However, in order to cope with this workload, they must drop a subject which is compulsory at the school. The current inflexibility has only come in in the last 3 years - most curiously at the beginning of what is supposed to be a flexible curriculum! The school has thus far refused to bend, and this threatens to damage the child's chances in the area they are most talented.

Neither subject is required for university entrance, and neither subject is compulsory at other local schools.

Neither family has any intention of changing their minds, and both have been in extensive dialogue with the school. The question, now, is what are their rights if the school remains instransigent? Whilst the student approaching GCSE can be kept at home on the day of the exam (though this in itself may bring other difficulties), this is not something that can be done for the child who is required to begin a 2-year GCSE course - eating up time which could more fruitfully be spent elsewhere.


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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 10:54 am 
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Some schools with specialisms can oblige a child to take a GCSE in them - eg if you are at a school with a technology specialism you can be made to choose a tech GCSE. (OT: IMO these specialisms are absolutely worthless: my most recent mainstream job was in one with a language specialism and the most restrictive language policy I have come across anywhere, with the vast majority of students only allowed to study French,and no obligation whatsoever to do it beyond Year 9. Just to add, though, if anyone recognises the school, the quality of language teaching was very high indeed - just not so many children were able to take advantage of it. This same school now has 2 specialisms and is about to add a 3rd. When does specialism become generalism?).


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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 9:01 pm 
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"a bad result (and that means lower than an A)"

Am I alone in finding this a profoundly dispiriting statement?


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PostPosted: Mon May 31, 2010 9:43 pm 
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Location: Berkshire
I'm struggling a little here to be honest
Case 1 - child who is about to sit GCSE and has studied for 2 years - I cannot see why the parents would pull the child out from the exam, It's a bit sad considering that child will have made effort there for the past two years, and the message to the child, is not a good one. That if you won't get an A or an A* there's no point in continuing? I am a parent of two children one who is at a very good university with a , wait for it, C in French, and one who hopefully will be able to take her offer up for a very good university with, wait for it, a C in French again :oops: sorry Amber, not so good at the languages in our house.
Case 2 - child who is about to embark on a subject not necessary for them for further study, but necessary for the school with an accelerated path for another subject which won't be viable should this other subject be taken. My advice would be to do as the school wishes and do the other subject in the normal timeframe, universities apparently prefer GCSEs to be taken in bulk and at the same time.

Just my opininon, obviously, and btw the number of times I was asked by my kids could they give up French, and the number of times I had to say No was ridiculous :lol:


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 01, 2010 12:12 pm 
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Looking for help wrote:
Case 1 - child who is about to sit GCSE and has studied for 2 years -
....That if you won't get an A or an A* there's no point in continuing?

Case 2 - child who is about to embark on a subject not necessary for them for further study, but necessary for the school with an accelerated path for another subject which won't be viable should this other subject be taken. My advice would be to do as the school wishes and do the other subject in the normal timeframe, universities apparently prefer GCSEs to be taken in bulk and at the same time.

:lol:


In case 1, it's a half GCSE, (so it's value is not as great as a full GCSE), and therefore only 1 year of study, and in addition is being sat in Year 9. It's not necessary to get a qualification in a subject to get value from it, though given the quality of teaching over the year, it's been quite difficult. This particular half GCSE is not of itself of much value, but it is, unfortunately, highly significant, in this instance, if the student gets less than A grades, and the down side of a B or lower here is greater than the upside of having the half GCSE. Just because this is true in this instance, doesn't mean to say it is true in other instances, or indeed that the student shouldn't take other subjects where they might not get an A. The parent is not arguing that, and the child is aware that there are no guarantees of As or above in any subject.

The school splits up the GCSEs over 3 years anyway, so it isn't possible to take them all in one go.

Without revealing further details, I can only say that the parents' choices in Case 2 make utter sense, and would not have been an issue for the school only 3 years ago. They have simply become totally inflexible, bizarrely at a time when the curriculum is supposed to be 'personalised'.

I come back to my question - what are the parents' rights, or don't they have any?


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